Carlos Lee: How 350th Career Home Run Helps the Slugger Join Elite Group

Alex SchuhartCorrespondent IApril 9, 2012

Carlos Lee
Carlos LeeThomas B. Shea/Getty Images

When Houston Astros’ slugger Carlos Lee hit his 350th career home run on April 6, he joined an impressive cast of names who have reached that milestone.

The 35-year-old Lee, who is coming off his worst season home—run-wise—since his rookie year, is now one of only 12 active players to have hit that many dingers.

He joins Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Chipper Jones, Albert Pujols, Jason Giambi, Andruw Jones, Paul Konerko, David Ortiz, Adam Dunn and Lance Berkman in the active 350-home run club.

The list excludes Vladimir Guerrero, who is currently a free-agent.

Among the group, there have been 79 All Star Game selections, 38 Silver Sluggers awarded and eight Most Valuable Player trophies bestowed.

Lee has contributed three of those All-Star Game selections and two of the Silver Sluggers.

Though his power numbers have decreased each season since 2006—when he hit a career high 37 home runs—the Panamanian is still a viable power threat at the plate.

Even in his career-worst 2010 season, in which he batted only .246 with a .291 on-base percentage, the right-handed batter still managed to swat 24 longballs.

“El Caballo,” as he is nicknamed, is comparable to former players Moises Alou and Shawn Green. Not an explosive, monster of a power-hitter—he has never slugged more than 40 home runs in a season—he still manages to steadily produce home runs each year, despite his ever-increasing age.

According to the Favorite Toy, a projection system designed by Sabermetric guru Bill James, the slugger is on pace for 433 home runs—landing him in the even more exclusive 400-home run club, which currently has seven active members, and, perhaps surprisingly, garnering him some Hall of Fame discussion.